U May Cullect.

Boom Southland pacer U May Cullect continued on his winning way at Addington last night. He had to draw on all his reserves but he beat Classie Brigade by a nose.

However after the win, the rumour mill began churning which owner Tom Kilkelly found disappointing.

“The word round Christchurch is that the horse has broken down. I had a couple of phone calls this morning asking what had gone wrong with him. We don’t have any issues. Kirstin put him on the truck this morning and wrapped his legs and said there was no sign of anything. We’ll get him scanned on Monday just to make sure,” he said.  

In last night’s PGG Wrightson Standardbred Uncut Gems Classic driver Kirstin Barclay took U May Cullect to the front early before handing up to Classie Brigade and driver John Dunn. From there the pace was on.

“They went down the back in 27. I think Dunn’s idea was to run us off our feet so that we couldn’t beat him.”

Classie Brigade, U May Cullect, Triple Eight and Smokin By gapped themselves from the rest of the field and coming down the straight it became a battle of two mighty willing horses with U May Cullect beating Classie Brigade by a nose.

“I was a wee bit concerned when he took the passing lane. He sprinted for a wee bit then he lost his way but Kirstin felt he just got lost because he’s never taken the passing lane. He’s always either lead or come round them. It was a bit tense in that he didn’t win by lengths like he normally does but he was racing against Cup horses.”

Kilkelly wasn’t even sure whether it was a win or not.

“Everyone round me reckoned he’d won but I didn’t know – I thought it was pretty close. There was only a nose in it. I was talking to Graham Court this morning and he said that’s the sign of a real good horse. They just dig in and have got that wee bit extra.”

The winning time was 3-08.7 on a showery night, on an easy track. The New Zealand record for 2600 metre mobile of 3-05.5 is held by Sheriff. The run of Classie Brigade was full of merit and was only his third race back since a nine month injury break.

Kilkelly says U May Cullect pulled up well and that now’s the right time for a break.

“He’s a bit of a dumbo. I went down to the barn afterwards and washed him down and he was just standing there like he normally does. He’s definitely going to get a nice month in the paddock now.”

Next on the cards will be the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru in September.

“If we’re competitive we’ll carry on to the Cup.”

Despite the horse’s rapid rise through the grades Kilkelly says there have never been any offers to buy him.

“There’s never been any money put up. We’ve made it very very clear that he’s not for sale. I don’t care what the offers are. I’ve spend my life waiting for a good horse and this is it.”

He says without doubt U May Cullect’s win at Addington last night was a career highlight, surpassing Shard Ark’s win in the 2009 Yearling Sales Series Final.

“Shard Ark hadn’t done much until that race whereas the journey with this fella has been unbelievable.”

Kilkelly says the horse’s notoriety has spread far beyond Southland.

“I was sitting in the stand last night and there was a guy sitting just along from me and he said to me after the race ‘I was cheering louder than you were and I’ve flown down from Auckland just to watch this horse’. It was just an unbelievable feeling. Everyone at Addington congratulating us. Money can’t buy that.”

 

Bruce Stewart